Are you coughing, wheezing, and short on breath? Well, chances are, you have asthma. Unfortunately, asthma affects over 16 million adults in the United States alone. Triggers of asthma include cut grass, tree pollen, soldering fumes, wood and grain dust, and latex rubber. While it is a treatable condition, asthma may cause death if left unattended. To protect yourself and your employees, identify and accordingly deal with any potential asthmatic triggers on your job site. Here are some helpful tips to keep asthma under control on your worksite.
· Wear facemasks-One of the easiest ways to avoid asthmatic trigger is to wear an appropriate facemask while on the job. Through Examinetics respirator fit tests, we make sure your employees are breathing only clean air and avoiding air-borne triggers.
· Take meds-While there is no cure for asthma, there are medicines which alleviate the conditions of asthma. The two main types of medicines are reliever medicines and preventer medicines. Relievers—such as albuterol—reduce asthma symptoms by relaxing tight muscles surrounding airways. Preventers—such as inhaled corticosteroids— suppress inflammation within bronchioles (tubes in the body responsible for bringing air into the lungs).
· Required reading-Often, employers will require their employees to read OSHA-regulated manuscripts regarding asthma. The content includes details of asthmatic symptoms and characteristics and asthmatic medicine. Also, included are solutions resources for specific scenarios (e.g. preventing allergic reactions to natural rubber latex or preventing asthma and death from diisocyanate exposure).
· Ventilate workspace-Installing ventilators is one way to create a more breathable work environment for your workers. This may help keep bothersome asthmatic triggers at bay.
· Testing- Asthmatics undergo a method known as a spirometry by blowing into a simple testing device. This measures the airflow from the lungs through either the peak expiratory flow rate or forced expiratory volume. Once an employee is tested for asthma, proper steps may be taken to ensure his or her safety.
· Routine monitoring-To ensure your employee’s safety, it is vital to perform a routine check on them. This may include breath tests or simple conversations with your employees.
· Remember workplace safety-In the end, the health and safety of your staff are of the utmost importance and keeping your worksite. Take the necessary action to keep your staff as asthma –free as possible.
For information about Examinetics or our respirator fit testing, click the link.
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration
American Lung Association home page
US Environmental Protection Agency pages on asthma
OSHA Small Entity Compliance Guide for the revised respiratory protection standard
Standards of care for occupational asthma – Fishwick et al. 63 (3): 240 – Thorax